Choosing the Right Community for You
If you are looking to buy real estate, one of the first things your real estate professional will do before taking you on home tours is determine with you what type of house you want.
But just as important as the type of real estate is the type of community. Knowing your preferences will narrow your home search and save time. Remember, in every commuting area there might be four or five different towns, each with their own characteristics.
The key factors you'll use to identify your "right communities" are generally price and location, but there are many other factors to consider as well. To expedite the home-hunting process, start by making a list of dream home factors that are most important to you and your family's lifestyle.
Ask yourself critical questions like these:
- Do you dream of a quaint and charming older home, or do you prefer something new?
- Are you willing to sacrifice room size and space for architectural detailing?
- How far are you willing to commute from your home to the office or schools?
- Are you willing to exchange the number of bedrooms and a big yard for proximity to a lake or other recreational area?
- Do you like city living, where you can be close to the action and easily walk to places? Or do you want a more quiet, open space?
- School systems: Whether you have children or not, buying a home in a community with good schools is important. It not only adds value to your property, but also is an attractive feature if you decide to sell. Look on any home for sale on verani.com and you'll see a school report. These reports provide statistical data such as graduation rates, college-bound percentages, and standardized test scores. You can also learn about special programs the schools offer. In addition to these reports, many schools have their own websites you can peruse. And of course you can always talk to people in the area or take a tour of the school.
- Distance to amenities: Distance to recreational activities, shopping, restaurants, and other specific family needs is important to consider.
- Safety: Look up local crime rates and city services such as police and fire.
- Age-restricted housing: If you are like many midlife folks—over the age of 55 with still plenty to do and see—you may want to consider an age-restricted community. There, you are surrounded by people your own age who tend to have similar interests.
- Properties geared toward your specific interests: Dream of being able to ski right onto the slopes? Maybe you'd like to walk out the door and feel sand between your toes instead. With all the natural beauty that New England has to offer, having a beach home, ski house, or other home specifically suited to your interests is possible.
When you've narrowed down your must-haves, discuss your options with your agent. This will provide him or her with information they need to help you find property listings to tour. Remember, a targeted approach to house-hunting is most efficient.